District Curriculum Accommodations Plan

District Curriculum Accommodations Plan - DCAP

A Resource Guide for Teachers, Principals, Student Support Services Personnel, and Parents to Meet the Needs of All Learners of the Burlington School District 

Massachusetts General Laws require the adoption and implementation of a District Curriculum Accommodation Plan (DCAP). This plan is intended to guide principals and teachers in ensuring that all possible efforts are made to meet student needs in general education classrooms and to support teachers in analyzing and accommodating the wide range of student learning styles and needs that exist in any school. By describing in a document the accommodations, instructional supports and strategies that are available in general education, and the process for determining effective interventions for struggling learners, it is hoped that this DCAP will help support diverse learners in our schools and avoid unnecessary referrals to special education.

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71, Section 38Q1/2 “A school district shall adopt and implement a curriculum accommodation plan to assist principals in ensuring that all efforts have been made to meet the students’ needs in regular education. The plan shall be designed to assist the regular classroom teacher in analyzing and accommodating diverse learning styles of all children in the regular classroom and in providing appropriate services and support within the regular education programming, including, but not limited to, direct and systematic instruction in reading and provision of services to address the needs of children whose behavior may interfere with learning, or who do not qualify for special education services under chapter 71B. The curriculum accommodation plan shall include provisions encouraging teacher mentoring and collaboration and parental involvement.” 

DCAP Overview:
The role of the Burlington Public Schools has evolved over the years from one of essentially developing and implementing specific support programs and services for students to one of collaboration with Principals, classroom teachers, and curriculum coordinators and department heads.  This collaboration in planning and implementation enables the District to provide specifically defined programs and services to continue to meet the needs of the students.

The formulation of new programs and service initiatives are a result of the broader representation of opinions through District Leadership Teams and individual School Based Teams. The Burlington Public Schools in consultation with these Teams has facilitated the establishment of programs and services to more effectively and efficiently meet the needs of the students.

The Burlington Public Schools is dedicated to working collaboratively with educators, parents, support professionals and the community to ensure that all students receive their appropriate services and supports in the least restrictive environment/setting, conducive to facilitating their maximum emotional, social and academic growth.  The focus of this collaborative approach is to prepare students for productive lives as full members of our society. The Burlington Public Schools DCAP was developed and refined through several meetings with district administrators and was shared with each School Leadership Team. Additionally, the DCAP was be disseminated and explained to all staff at the elementary, middle and high school grade levels. The Burlington Public Schools DCAP addresses various strategies that will help to achieve this objective, including:

Systems of Tiered Instruction (RTI) - A system used to screen, assess, identify, plan for, and provide interventions to any student at- risk of school failure due to academic or behavior needs. This approach referred to as Response to Intervention (RTI), is a process that provides immediate intervention to struggling students at the first indication of a failure to learn.

Special Education Services - These would include services that are available to students through the regular education program, including services to address the needs of students whose behavior may interfere with learning. A description of the District’s Special Education programs and services is appended to this DCAP.

Title I - Memorial, Francis Wyman, Pine Glen

Reading Services - This means the direct and systematic instruction in reading for all students.

Mentoring and Collaboration - This set of strategies includes those that encourage teacher mentoring and collaboration.

Parental Involvement - This effort includes workshops/presentations and strategies that encourage parental involvement in their children's education.

While not required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), this DCAP seeks to identify strategies in several other areas including:

School Organization - Included here are such things as changes to the school schedule (such as additional instructional time or block scheduling), review of school policies and discipline codes, RtI and pre-referral activities before students are evaluated to determine eligibility for special education, after-school options (such as homework assistance and peer coaching.) and behavioral interventions including Bullying Programs/Bullying Curriculum.

Curriculum Alignment- These strategies provide for a review of local curriculum in relation to state learning standards.

Additional Support Services - Services that provide additional staffing or consultation on behavioral issues and on literacy development are included in this category.

Psychologists:  School Psychologists perform evaluations and screenings, provide consultation to classrooms, and provide direct services to children both in the classroom and individually to address academic, social/emotional, and/or behavioral needs.

School Counselor:  The school counselors at the secondary level support the academic, career and personal/social-emotional development of all students. They participate in disciplinary meetings as well as Special Education and 504 Team meetings. They assist students and parents with the college application process or other post secondary goals.  At the elementary level, the school counselors support the social/emotional development of all students.  They provide social skills instruction within the classroom and within small groups.  The elementary school counselors coordinate and oversee students’ 504 Accommodation Plans.  The school counselors also provide support to teachers and parents.  

Reading and Math Curriculum Coaches:  Coaches facilitate curriculum work and alignment through Curriculum Councils and are the liaisons between the councils and the district leadership teams; they provide professional development to all staff in the district and also support teachers through modeling lessons and providing resources; coaches also manage student data and progress monitoring through the RtI model

Speech and Language Pathologist:  SLP’s perform evaluations and screenings, provide consultation to classrooms, and provide direct services to children both in the classroom and in the therapy room to address communication skills including the following: receptive and expressive language, social communication, articulation, fluency, voice, and hearing.

Occupational Therapist:  OT’s perform evaluations and screenings, provide consultation to classrooms and provide direct services to children both in the classroom and in the therapy room to address fine motor and perceptual motor skills as well as address sensory integration skills.

Physical Therapist:  PT’s perform evaluations and screenings, provide consultation to classrooms and provide direct services to children both in the general education setting and in the therapy room to address gross motor skills

Behaviorist:  The behaviorist provides consultation and support to classroom throughout the district as well as direct services to students in district programs.  The behaviorist conducts systematic behavioral assessments, provides interpretations of the results, and develops and supervises behavior intervention plans. 

Vision Specialist:  The vision specialist conducts assessments and provides consultative services to classroom teachers as well as direct instruction to students with visual impairments. 

Assistive Technology: Products, devices, or equipment (whether acquired commercially, modified or customized) that are used to maintain, increase, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.



Accommodations are practices and procedures in the areas of presentation, response, setting, and timing/scheduling that provide equitable access during instruction and assessments for students with disabilities. 

Accommodations are intended to reduce or even eliminate the effects of a student’s disability; they do not reduce learning expectations. The accommodations provided to a student must be the same for classroom instruction, classroom assessments, and district and state assessments. It is critical to note that although some accommodations may be appropriate for instructional use, they may not be appropriate for use on a standardized assessment. There may be consequences  (e.g., lowering or not counting a student’s test score) for the use of some accommodations during state assessments. It is very important for educators to become familiar with state policies regarding accommodations during assessments. 

Typically, accommodation use does not begin and end in school. Students who use 

accommodations will generally also need them at home, in the community, and as they get older, in postsecondary education and at work. Accommodations for instruction and assessment are integrally intertwined. 

Presentation Accommodations: Allow students to access information in ways that do not require them to visually read standard print. These alternate modes of access are auditory, multi-sensory, tactile, and visual. 

  • Present content in multi-modal approaches
  • Break down long term assignments
  • Use transition cues
  • Use technology assisted instruction
  • Additional small group/1:1 instruction (even before or after school)
  • Pair student with peer instructors/tutoring
  • Paper to peer to provide notes (grades 6-12)
  • Provide handouts
  • Present demonstration model/exemplars
  • Utilize manipulatives (across curriculum)
  • Pre-teach vocabulary
  • Make/use vocabulary files
  • Repeat clarify directions
  • Break-down directions/tasks into smaller steps
  • Arrangement of materials on page/Reduced amount of visual information on the page
  • Highlight test/study guides
  • Use supplementary materials
  • Marker to guide reading
  • Large graph paper format
  • Graphic organizers
  • Assignment notebooks
  • Use of manipulatives
  • Use of 1:1 to technology to support instruction

Setting Accommodations:Change the location in which a test or assignment is given or the conditions of the assessment setting. 

  • Strategic seating
  • Change student’s location within the classroom 

Timing and Scheduling Accommodations:Increase the allowable length of time to complete an assessment or assignment and perhaps change the way the time is organized. 

  • Extended time
  • Allow breaks
  • Provide after or before school help regularly 
  • Use of daily schedules

Response Accommodations:Allow students to complete activities, assignments, and assessments in different ways or to solve or organize problems using some type of assistive device or organizer.

  • Reduce assignments requiring copying
  • Use rubrics
  • Provide homework logs and journals for homework follow-up
  • Accommodations for Testing Adaptations:
  • Alternate type of tests
  • Preview language of test questions
  • Administer in short periods
  • Change format visually
  • Accommodations for Classroom Assignments:
  • Reduce paper and pencil tasks
  • Use pictorial directions
  • Give extra cues and prompts
  • Allow student to record or type assignments
  • Buddy system
  • Daily checklists of tasks
  • Behavioral Strategies:
  • Develop self monitoring systems
  • Change seating
  • Increase student-teacher interaction
  • Develop behavior plan with motivating incentives
  • Adjust classroom management techniques
  • Parent communication and shared incentives
  • Define clear and consistent expectations-student-class
  • Consult with school school or psychologist
  • Use charts and graphs to monitor expectations
  • Warnings for transitions
  • Use of daily/individual schedule

Motivation and Reinforcement:

  • Increase positive reinforcement
  • Increase concrete reinforcement
  • Offer choice
  • Use student's strengths/interests
  • Reinforce student’s initiative in their own learning
  • Promote self-determination skills